Pakistan’s Breast Cancer Challenges
Breast cancer affects women in communities all across the world and many times the challenges are the same. Activists, doctors and survivors have to increase awareness so those who develop the disease can be treated early. However, Pakistan has another hurdle to overcome that is getting in the way of some groups’ awareness efforts. According to the Associated Press, the country’s conservative values make it difficult for women to even speak the word “breast.” Instead it must be referred to by its euphemism, “cancer of women.”
Breast cancer will affect one in nine women in Pakistan during their life and this number represents the highest rate of the disease in all of Asia. According to the source, a study conducted in Rawalpindi General Hospital found that 70 percent of the 600 women studied had no knowledge of breast cancer. Additionally, 88 percent were unaware of breast cancer self-examinations.
The taboo associated with the disease causes some women not to speak about it even after being diagnosed.
“If women are being diagnosed with breast cancer, they don’t even share the news with their family members,” Omar Aftab, of breast cancer organization PinkRibbon in Pakistan, told the Associated Press.
However, breast cancer groups like PinkRibbon continue to work to educate people in the area by campaigning for increased public awareness, among other initiatives.